Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

I am not in the mood for Christmas this year. It's not that I'm depressed or stressed or broke or anything; I just ... meh. I don't have a tree up or a wreath on the door or candles in the windows. None of you are getting Christmas presents from me this year. No one, and I mean no one, even those who do not read this blog, is getting a handmade Christmas present from me this year.

I will admit that when I was driving home from work a week ago and I saw the 70-foot-high spruce next to the antique shop in Oakdale newly and incredibly beautifully lit up with mostly blue lights - well, then I had a moment of seasonal joy.

And I loved these cards so much that when I couldn't forget them several days later - well, maybe a few people will be getting these this year. And these, too, while I was at it. They'll get to their recipients late, I'm sure, because I'm not really in the mood for Christmas this year, you know, so I might have ordered them a little late.

But otherwise - nope, not doing Christmas this year. I am going to go visit my folks over Christmas because, well, they're 81 and 79, and you never know. But I still haven't figured out what they're getting for Christmas from me, much less what my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and my niece ought to get, all of whom I'm likely to see at my folks' house. Well - maybe good beer for one brother and my dad. Maybe good cookies for Mom (but no chocolate; she's seriously allergic). My niece? Er, what does one get a freshman in college? A freshman majoring in some sort of engineering I don't even understand? And my artistic and sophisticated sister-in-law? Impossible to shop for.

I can't even get gauge for a small and secret (and not-Christmas) project today. On size 8 needles, the mysterious object is half an inch too wide. On size 7 needles, the mysterious object is still half an inch too wide. Annoying. You and I both know that on size 6 needles, the mysterious object will be half an inch too narrow, because this is knitting, after all, nothing nearly as precise and predictable as rocket science, God forbid.

Today I also wound lots of endless balls of lovely yarns for weaving, mostly hand-dyed skeins that would be difficult to wind a warp from. Here's a sample:


I thought about what sort of weave structure would do justice to these fine yarns - did a lot of figuring out numbers of warp ends and looking up half-remembered drafts and calculating total warp yardage and such, and didn't really get anywhere. Yet.

I'll keep working on it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I've Been Thinking

A snow day does that to me. Eight inches of snow fell here overnight and this morning; now the snow is turning to rain. My neighbor, bless him, snow-blowed (blew?) my driveway and I just cleaned up the walks and car and such as the snow turned to sleet.


So I took a day off work. An hour's commute on a good day turns into a stress-filled two hours, minimum, on a day like this, and there's always the chance of sliding off the road or being killed in an accident or something thoroughly unpleasant like that. I stayed home.

"Well!" I can hear you saying to yourself, "She's always complaining about not having enough time to knit or spin or weave - here's a whole day she can spend doing just that!" Well, yes, but even with the coziness of being snowed in, I feel restless. I knit for an hour on the CROPS jacket, which is coming along nicely...


...once I decided to just stop dithering over needle size. I ended up using the specified size, which gave me slightly more stitches per inch than called for. I compensated by using the stitch counts for the next larger size, after a bit of math said that was appropriate.

Knitting didn't satisfy me. I wound balls of handspun - some lovely cranberry BFL 3-ply and most of the skeins from Belle, the white Romney fleece I spun into a worsted-weight 2-ply some time ago.

That didn't satisfy me. I have the itch to create something. Not just follow a knitting pattern, not just mindlessly spin fiber because I like to spin and I have lovely fiber - but create something from scratch. My something. Something that says something.

It's very annoying. Creating something takes enormous time and energy, and while I have that today, I won't tomorrow or the next day. But I know this itch, this drive, won't go away, either, so I suppose I better give in and make something, damn it.

I'm going back to thinking. Thinking about creativity and what I want to say and how to fit making something into my life. I might knit while I think.

In the meantime, the plants in my bay window are blooming - enjoy!




Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Not Cooperating

I've gotten about 3.5 inches up the back of the DROPS jacket.


Looks good, doesn't it? (I swear that red is more subtle in real life.)

Except...well, remember how I swatched this on size 11 needles and got 12 stitches in 4 inches? The specified gauge is 11 stitches in 4 inches, so I went down to size 10.5 when I cast on, vowing to myself that I'd check my gauge often, once I got past the evil influence of those garter rows and ribbing at the cast-on.

I checked. I'm getting 14 stitches in 4 inches. Wrong. The jacket back should be 30 inches across at the bottom; that...thing on my needles is 24 inches across.

Shortly, that...thing will not exist.

Why didn't you all tell me I was wrong choosing smaller needles? I need larger needles!

goes off to rummage through the needle stash, mumbling to herself waaaay more than usual